The Obamas, Clintons take to twitter for #ThrowbackThursday. Courtsey Politico.
McCrory signs controversial abortion "education" bill, #NCGA Republicans re-ignite restrictive voter ID push, judge grants restraining order to Charlotte as Republicans seek powergrab over airport, student loans compromise looms in U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell loses grip on caucus, Rep. Mel Watt clears key committee vote, #NCDP keeps Tillis up-to-speed on N.C. House action as he fundraises in D.C., Pelosi talks Hillary 2016, Charlotte Observer calls for Tillis’ resignation as N.C. Speaker
Dome: McCrory signs abortion curriculum bill
Gov. Pat McCrory has signed the bill requiring students be taught that abortion is among the risk factors for premature birth. SB132 was one of 43 bills the governor signed Thursday, according to a news release his office sent out Thursday evening. There are conflicting studies about whether abortion is a risk factor for future pre-term births. The state Childhood Fatality Task Force recommended it be taught.
WNCN: NC tax reform heads to McCrory for final approval
Democrats say the bill helps the wealthiest and large out-of-state corporations at the expense of working families. The bill also applies an increase in sales tax to electricity, movies and service contracts. The governor’s office scheduled a signing ceremony at the old Capitol building late Wednesday afternoon, but didn’t say for what legislation.
WRAL: The 2013 Tax Package
Lawmakers started the 2013 legislative session hoping to fundamentally remake North Carolina’s tax code. Tax reform had long been a kind of holy grail for both Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike. But efforts to overhaul a tax code first drawn in the 1930s have consistently run into opposition run into opposition from industries that have been the beneficiaries of long-standing. This year was no different.
Charlotte Observer: NC tax bill closes some loopholes while preserving and extending many others
Chiropractors are losing a sales tax break that may increase the cost of vitamins and other nutritional supplements for their patients. Newspapers would have to charge sales tax to subscribers or those who buy from vending machines. And sales tax holidays for school supplies and energy-efficient appliances would disappear. But still on the books is a $1,500 cap on the sales tax for a yacht or a jet, a provision that costs the state $10 million a year in lost revenue. Beer, liquor and tobacco distributors would keep their rebates worth a combined $12 million annually for collecting taxes from their customers on behalf of the state. Country clubs and other recreational nonprofits keep their exemption from the corporate income tax, a tax break worth a combined $600,000 a year.
ABC 11: North Carolina lawmakers look to session end after tax deal
With a tax overhaul heading to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk, Senate Republicans want to hurry along legislative activity with an eye toward adjourning the six-month-long session. But House counterparts aren’t in as big a rush to do it. Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson and Senate Rules Committee chairman, announced from the floor Wednesday that debate for some bills would occur during a rare Saturday session. A frustrated Apodaca said later he hoped that House Republicans would stay around too and press ahead to end the session with summer now in full swing.
The News & Observer: Senate Republicans unveil stricter NC Voter ID bill
Resurrecting one of the legislative session’s most contentious issues, Senate Republicans unveiled a new voter ID bill Thursday that would further restrict the forms of photo identification accepted at the polls. The new measure would require voters to show one of seven types of photo identification issued by the government, such as driver’s licenses, passports, non-driver IDs and military or veteran cards. It eliminates about half the types of photo identification allowed under the House version, including cards from UNC system colleges, state community colleges, local governments, private employers and law enforcement agencies. The bill would take full effect in the 2016 elections.
Huffington Post: North Carolina Republicans Introduce Tough New Voter ID Bill
Senate Republicans in North Carolina introduced a new voter ID bill on Thursday that would require all voters to present specific, state-approved forms of ID at the polls. Unlike an earlier bill passed by the North Carolina House, the new bill does not include college IDs in the list of acceptable documents.
The Nation: North Carolina Republicans Push Harsh New Voter ID Law
According to the state’s own numbers, 316,000 registered voters don’t have state-issued ID; 34 percent are African-American and 55 percent are registered Democrats. Of the 138,000 voters without ID who cast a ballot in the 2012 election, 36 percent were African-American and 59 registered percent Democrats. The new draft of the bill does not allow student IDs for voting, and would charge $10 to obtain an ID unless a voter signs a form saying they cannot afford it under penalty of perjury, making it among the most restrictive laws in the country. It’s worth noting that voter fraud in the state, which the legislation purports to stop, is incredibly rare; there were only two prosecutions of voter impersonation between 2000 and 2010, when millions of voters were cast.
New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Voting in North Carolina
Coupled with the other voting restrictions, the intent of North Carolina politicians to obstruct voting by African-Americans is transparent. The citizens of North Carolina deserve better than this antidemocratic attack.
Charlotte Observer: Airport bill passes, but judge halts authority switch
The turbulent fight over Charlotte’s airport boomeranged between the General Assembly in Raleigh and a courtroom in Charlotte on Thursday, and by the end of the day had claimed the job of long-time Aviation Director Jerry Orr. The dispute over whether control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport should be shifted from the city to a new authority landed in court after the N.C. Senate gave quick and final approval to a bill creating the new controlling body. Shortly after the vote, a judge granted a restraining order on behalf of the city that halted the changeover and raised the prospect of a lengthy legal battle.
WRAL: Compromise would restore lower college loan rates
A compromise deal on student loans that could hold down loan rates in the short term was expected to come to a vote next week, well before students returning to campus this fall have to sign their loan agreements. While the deal could lower rates for students and parents over the next few years, it could spell higher rates as the economy improves.
DOME: Senators ready to restore lower college loan rates
The group on Thursday told reporters they have reached a compromise that lowers the rates for all students who borrow from the federal government. The rates would be linked to financial markets, meaning interest rates would climb in coming years. Democrats insisted on and won a cap on how rates could climb.
POLITICO: Student loan deal could move quickly
A compromise to roll back the recent doubling of student loan rates could move swiftly through Congress, keeping students from having to pay a higher rate at the start of the school year. The bill would tie student loan rates to 10-year Treasury notes, which would result in rates of less than 4 percent for new loans made this year for undergraduate students. It also caps rates at 8.25 percent for undergrads, 9.5 percent for graduate students and 10.5 percent for loans to parents, a key victory for Democrats looking to limit students’ costs as interest rates rise in future years.
Politico: Mitch McConnell’s fractured Senate GOP caucus
The once-united Senate Republican Conference is splintering. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn’t face nearly the same threat from his members as Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who was almost toppled in January by tea party inspired GOP lawmakers. Yet it’s clear that McConnell — who along with Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), faces a costly reelection campaign in 2014 — is spending more time than ever juggling the competing interests of his rank-and-file, while having to fight with Obama and the Democrats. And the GOP discord may jeopardize the party’s leverage in the fall over key issues like the debt-ceiling hike and government spending.
Politico: Mel Watt moves closer to confirmation vote
In a post-nuclear option Senate, Rep. Mel Watt’s nomination to be the next regulator of mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is shaping up as an early test for whether the filibuster deal was a temporary detente. If the deal struck earlier this week between Democrats and Republicans over executive branch nominees lasts and Watt can be confirmed, President Barack Obama will have filled another key leadership post at a financial regulator that has been open for years. But Republicans have opposed his nomination, arguing that someone with technical expertise and not a politician should be director of the agency.
Charlotte Observer: Senate banking committee approves Watt’s nomination to head housing finance agency
The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of U.S. Rep. Mel Watt of Charlotte as the next head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The 12-10 vote was split along party lines, with Democrats backing their party’s longtime congressman from North Carolina. As expected, Watt’s nomination faced considerable criticism from Republicans on the committee, who questioned the placement of a longtime politician at the head of the FHFA.
Politico: Senate confirms Gina McCarthy after record-long wait
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency, adding the last major player to the team President Barack Obama needs to drive his climate agenda. But it wasn’t easy. The Senate confirmed McCarthy by a vote of 59-40, including the support of Republicans Lamar Alexander, Kelly Ayotte, Susan Collins, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and John McCain. That came right after 16 Republicans helped her clear the filibuster hurdle in a 69-31 cloture vote. Obama issued a statement welcoming McCarthy to the post and expressing optimism about the daunting agenda ahead. “I look forward to having her in my Cabinet as we work to slow the effects of climate change and leave a cleaner environment for future generations,” the president said.
Dome: Thom Tillis gets the tracker treatment
N.C. Democrats released a video showing footage of Tillis apparently walking between meetings in Washington on Wednesday instead of presiding over the House session. Another greeted him at RDU airport when he returned later in the day. It’s not clear what Tillis tells the camera but at the end Tillis tells the camera in the parking garage “Back to work.”
Chicago Tribune: Analysis: Republicans could see more bruising Senate primaries
But it is rekindling Republicans’ concerns that party feuds could lead to a reprise of the 2010 and 2012 elections, when bitter Republican primary fights in several states produced weakened, gaffe-prone nominees who went on to lose winnable races to Democrats – and thwart Republicans’ hopes of winning a majority in the Senate.
NBC: Pelosi: ‘I think the country is ready for Hillary’
In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she’s fully aboard the Hillary Clinton for President train — if Clinton runs in 2016. "I think the country is ready for Hillary," Pelosi said. "I certainly hope that she will choose to run. I think if she does, she will win. I think if and when she does, I think she’ll be the best prepared person to enter the White House in decades."
Politico: David Axelrod predicts Hillary Clinton nomination
David Axelrod predicted on Friday that Hillary Clinton will be the Democrats’ nominee for president in 2016, but he left open the door for a Joe Biden run. “I think that Hillary Clinton probably will be the candidate. If she doesn’t run, I think Biden will run,” the former White House and campaign adviser said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Axelrod said on national security, both the former secretary of state and the vice president would be part of a healthy debate. “They both, I think, share a view that there is a significant threat, that we do have to be vigilant about it, that we have to do it within the context of respecting our other traditions and the Constitution, but we have to do it,” Axelrod said.
Charlotte Observer: Tillis tries, but can’t serve two masters
North Carolina’s House of Representatives took action on 36 bills Wednesday. They included a package of tax cuts totaling more than $2.4 billion over the next five years, a controversial resolution on guns and important legislation affecting businesses hiring illegal immigrants. The Speaker of the House, Rep. Thom Tillis of Cornelius, missed it all. He was 263 miles away, in Washington, D.C., raising money for his budding U.S. Senate campaign.
The New York Times: The Cheney in Waiting
Dick Cheney’s daughter wants to be a senator! To give Wyoming a conservative voice! Well, it’s about time somebody thought of that. “Over the last several years, citizens across our great state have urged me to consider running for the Senate,” Liz Cheney said, announcing her candidacy via YouTube. This is now the way to do everything in politics. Soon we will be breathlessly reporting that the new president just posted his Inaugural Address video. But a couple of problems with that statement. One is that Cheney only moved to Wyoming last fall, so people were apparently begging her to represent them while she was there on vacation.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party